David Obura

David Obura
CORDIO East Africa

PhD

About

222
Publications
155,858
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11,119
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Introduction
David Obura currently works at CORDIO East Africa. David does research in coral reefs, bleaching and resilience, and works on marine/coastal sustainability in the Western Indian Ocean.

Publications

Publications (222)
Preprint
Full-text available
Defining a safe and just space for the biosphere requires global-scale synthetic measures of functional integrity in relation to Nature’s Contributions to People (NCP). We estimated, based on a systematic review of the literature, the minimum level of functional integrity needed to secure multiple critical ecosystem services, including pollination,...
Article
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Governments are negotiating actions intended to halt biodiversity loss and put it on a path to recovery by 2050. Here, we show that bending the curve for biodiversity is possible, but only if actions are implemented urgently and in an integrated manner. Connecting these actions to biodiversity outcomes and tracking progress remain a challenge.
Preprint
Environmental assessments increasingly call for just transformations, yet do not offer concrete visions of what these might be. This paper conceptualizes and operationalizes Earth system justice (ESJ) through articulating just ends which minimize significant harm to humans from Earth system change while ensuring access to needed resources for all a...
Preprint
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Ocean warming is increasing the incidence, scale, and severity of global-scale coral bleaching and mortality, culminating in the third global coral bleaching event that occurred during record marine heatwaves of 2014-2017. While local effects of these events have been widely reported, the global implications remain unknown. Analysis of 15,066 reef...
Preprint
Full-text available
Human impacts on the Earth’s biosphere are driving the global biodiversity crisis. Governments are preparing to agree on a set of actions intended to halt the loss of biodiversity and put it on a path to recovery by 2050. We provide evidence that the proposed actions can bend the curve for biodiversity, but only if these actions are implemented urg...
Article
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Ecosystems worldwide are under increasing threat. We applied a standardized method for assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems, to coral reefs in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), covering 11,919 km² of reef (~5% of the global total). Our approach combined indicators o...
Technical Report
Full-text available
EXPERT INPUT TO THE POST-2020 GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK: TRANSFORMATIVE ACTIONS ON ALL DRIVERS OF BIODIVERSITY LOSS ARE URGENTLY REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE THE GLOBAL GOALS BY 2050
Article
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As human activity threatens to make the planet unsafe for humanity and other life forms, scholars are identifying planetary targets set at a safe distance from biophysical thresholds beyond which critical Earth systems may collapse. Yet despite the profound implications that both meeting and transgressing such targets may have for human wellbeing,...
Article
Programs and initiatives aiming to protect biodiversity and ecosystems have increased over the last decades in response to their decline. Most of these are based on monitoring data to quantitatively describe trends in biodiversity and ecosystems. The estimation of such trends, at large scales, requires the integration of numerous data from multiple...
Article
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Maintaining healthy, productive ecosystems in the face of pervasive and accelerating human impacts including climate change requires globally coordinated and sustained observations of marine biodiversity. Global coordination is predicated on an understanding of the scope and capacity of existing monitoring programs, and the extent to which they use...
Article
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Plain Language Summary Mass bleaching events caused by warming oceans and intensifying marine heatwaves have killed millions of corals globally. In the central equatorial Pacific, coral reefs experienced three extreme heatwaves within 15 years, providing valuable insights into the mechanisms that could facilitate coral survival under global warming...
Chapter
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The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region comprises almost 6% (about 15,180 km2) of the total global area of coral reefs, and the region is a globally important hotspot for coral reef biodiversity. The WIO includes sovereign states along the eastern and southern African mainland (Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa), island states (Mauri...
Article
Despite substantial conservation efforts, the loss of ecosystems continues globally, along with related declines in species and nature’s contributions to people. An effective ecosystem goal, supported by clear milestones, targets and indicators, is urgently needed for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and beyond to support biodiversity co...
Article
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Substantial efforts and investments are being made to increase the scale and improve the effectiveness of marine conservation globally. Though it is mandated by international law and central to conservation policy, less attention has been given to how to operationalize social equity in and through the pursuit of marine conservation. In this article...
Technical Report
Full-text available
this document is the work of a team assembled by the International Coral Reef Society (ICRS). The mission of ICRS is to promote the acquisition and dissemination of scientific knowledge to secure the future of coral reefs, including via relevant policy frameworks and decision-making processes. This document seeks to highlight the urgency of taking...
Technical Report
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The Scientific Outcome was produced by participants in the first-ever IPCC-IPBES co-sponsored workshop which took place in December 2020. This workshop is placed in the context of recent international agreements including the Paris Agreement, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and ongoing preparation for the post-2020 global biodiversi...
Article
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Keeping the Earth system in a stable and resilient state, to safeguard Earth's life support systems while ensuring that Earth's benefits, risks, and related responsibilities are equitably shared, constitutes the grand challenge for human development in the Anthropocene. Here, we describe a framework that the recently formed Earth Commission will us...
Article
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Our societies will change following the COVID-19 crisis, as well as ocean management. Here we present 10 action points in a marine context, to re-energize our economies and avert the biodiversity and climate change crises of which the present COVID-19 crisis represents a portend: (1) promote carbon neutral economies to mitigate global warming; (2)...
Chapter
Data often inform protected area creation but are rarely used in monitoring established protected areas.
Article
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Coral reefs around the world are undergoing severe decline in the past few decades. Mass coral mortalities have predominantly been reported to be caused by coral bleaching or disease outbreaks. Temporary hypoxic conditions caused by algal blooms can trigger mass coral mortalities though are reported rarely. In this study in Gulf of Mannar (GoM), so...
Article
Earth’s ecosystems, upon which all life depends, are in a severe state of degradation. The upcoming UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration aims to “prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.” These Voices articulate why and what action is urgently needed.
Article
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Information on the spatial distribution of habitats and vulnerable species is important for conservation planning. In particular, detailed knowledge on connectivity of marine ecosystems in relation to depth and seafloor characteristics is crucial for any proposed conservation and management actions. Yet, the bulk of the seafloor remains undersample...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The COVID-19 and the Future of Oceans Sustainability process brought together 25 diverse stakeholders from across the globe to understand how COVID-19 is impacting ocean sustainability. The contributors to the process and co-creators of this report all work extensively in ocean sustainability and together provided a systemic perspective. The stakeh...
Article
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Global biodiversity policy is at a crossroads. Recent global assessments of living nature (1, 2) and climate (3) show worsening trends and a rapidly narrowing window for action. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has recently announced that none of the 20 Aichi targets for biodiversity it set in 2010 has been reached and only six have bee...
Article
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Spatial patterns of coral reef benthic communities vary across a range of broad-scale biogeographical levels to fine-scale local habitat conditions. This study described spatial patterns of coral reef benthic communities spanning across the 536-km coast of Kenya. Thirty-eight reef sites representing different geographical zones within an array of h...
Article
The Sustainable Development Goals express a narrative about the relationships between people and nature. This paper builds a narrative from an ocean perspective – through the lens of a coral reef seascape, and the blue economy. The ocean, intimately connected with the land, freshwater flows and climate provides a vast array of benefits to humanity....
Preprint
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A group of ocean experts brainstormed about the most pressing actions to be taken in favour of ocean conservation in the context of SARS-CoV2
Article
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There is widespread consensus among climate scientists today that global climate change is real and has anthropogenic roots. Marine species, for example, are exposed to a large array of abiotic stressors, such as warming and ocean acidification, that are linked directly to anthropogenic climate change. The general view on whether natural population...
Technical Report
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The High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy (https://oceanpanel.org/) has commissioned a series of “Blue Papers” to explore pressing challenges at the nexus of the ocean and the economy. This paper is part of a series of 16 papers to be published between November 2019 and October 2020. It addresses how multiple human impacts will impact bi...
Article
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A full-text view-only version of the paper is available here https://rdcu.be/bQUYS. Climate change, coupled with an El Niño, caused a devastating bleaching event in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) in 1998. Similar extreme conditions at the end of 2015 meant that there was a very high risk of widespread bleaching in the WIO at the start of 2016. In a...
Article
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This erratum has been initiated as authors first and last names appeared inverse in the original article and should be correctly read as.
Article
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The time is now For decades, scientists have been raising calls for societal changes that will reduce our impacts on nature. Though much conservation has occurred, our natural environment continues to decline under the weight of our consumption. Humanity depends directly on the output of nature; thus, this decline will affect us, just as it does th...
Preprint
The Sustainable Development Goals, while complex at first sight, express a simple narrative about the relationships between people and nature. This paper illustrates this in the context of a coral reef land or seascape supporting coastal people. Coral reefs, their health described by measures of coral and fish diversity and abundance, provide key s...
Preprint
The Sustainable Development Goals, while complex at first sight, express a simple narrative about the relationships between people and nature. This paper illustrates this in the context of a coral reef land or seascape supporting coastal people. Coral reefs, their health described by measures of coral and fish diversity and abundance, provide key s...
Article
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The Northern Mozambique Channel is a treasure of unique oceanography, rich coral reefs, migrating tuna, and whales, bounded by the Comoros, France, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Tanzania. Its living resources are relatively intact and of great importance for food and livelihood security and the developing economies of its surrounding coun...
Article
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Coral reefs are exceptionally biodiverse and human dependence on their ecosystem services is high. Reefs experience significant direct and indirect anthropogenic pressures, and provide a sensitive indicator of coastal ocean health, climate change, and ocean acidification, with associated implications for society. Monitoring coral reef status and tr...
Article
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The Northern Mozambique Channel (NMC) is a tropical area of ~ 1 million km² where pelagic fisheries supply proteins to more than 9 million people living in Comoros, Mayotte, and along the coasts of Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar. Although uncertain, statistics suggest that about 20,000 mt of tropical tuna and other pelagic fish are annually ca...
Article
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The health and functioning of coral reef ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) are in decline due to anthropogenic stress, and the rate of decline is set to accelerate. Marine reserves have become important tools in mitigating these pressures and one of the most critical factors in determining their spatial design is the degree of connectivi...
Article
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Development of global ocean observing capacity for the biological EOVs is on the cusp of a step-change. Current capacity to automate data collection and processing and to integrate the resulting data streams with complementary data, openly available as FAIR data, is certain to dramatically increase the amount and quality of information and knowledg...
Poster
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Biological baseline survey of marine invasive species in the Lamu Archipelago conducted to develop species reference catalogues for inference in future invasive species monitoring surveys due to expected increase in maritime traffic due to the LAPSSET Port development.
Technical Report
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This report represents a critical assessment, the first in almost 15 years (since the release of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005) and the first ever carried out by an intergovernmental body, of the status and trends of the natural world, the social implications of these trends, their direct and indirect causes, and, importantly, the act...
Article
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The UN General Assembly has made a unanimous decision to start negotiations to establish an international, legally-binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity within Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). However, there has of yet been little discussion on the importance of this move to the ecosyst...
Article
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Resilience underpins the sustainability of both ecological and social systems. Extensive loss of reef corals following recent mass bleaching events have challenged the notion that support of system resilience is a viable reef management strategy. While resilience-based management (RBM) cannot prevent the damaging effects of major disturbances, such...
Preprint
The IPAT equation provides a simple but powerful model for understanding sustainability, particularly from the challenge posed by the Anthropocene—how to reduce personal or societal impact. Impact is calculated by multiplying population, affluence and technology, and a ‘reduction coefficient’ e is used to explore targeted reductions in impact of di...
Preprint
The Northern Mozambique Channel hosts one of the world's most outstanding terrestrial and marine biodiversity rich areas. So far, the region has been only moderately impacted by human activities but rapidly evolving socioeconomic pressures call for sustainable management of the region's ecosystem service flows, which play a key role in supporting c...
Article
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Developing enduring capacity to monitor ocean life requires investing in people and their institutions to build infrastructure, ownership, and long-term support networks. International initiatives can enhance access to scientific data, tools and methodologies, and develop local expertise to use them, but without ongoing engagement may fail to have...
Article
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Background High sea surface temperatures resulted in widespread coral bleaching and mortality in Mayotte Island (northern Mozambique channel, Indian Ocean: 12.1°S, 45.1°E) in April–June 2010. Methods Twenty three representative coral genera were sampled quantitatively for size class distributions during the peak of the bleaching event to measure i...
Article
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Measurements of the status and trends of key indicators for the ocean and marine life are required to inform policy and management in the context of growing human uses of marine resources, coastal development, and climate change. Two synergistic efforts identify specific priority variables for monitoring: Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) through th...
Article
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Coral reef ecosystems are seriously threatened by changing conditions in the ocean. Although many factors are implicated, climate change has emerged as a dominant and rapidly growing threat. Developing a long‐term strategic plan for the conservation of coral reefs is urgently needed yet is complicated by significant uncertainty associated with clim...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The third global coral bleaching event started in the North Pacific in the summer of 2014, and continued for a record 3 years, only dissipating in 2017. It affected the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) between January and May 2016, and was the strongest bleaching event to occur in the region since 1998. The main objective of this report is to provide up...
Article
Coral bleaching and various human stressors have degraded the coral reefs of the Comoros Archipelago in the past 40 years and rising atmospheric CO2 levels are predicted to further impact marine habitats. The condition of reefs in the Comoros is poorly known; using SCUBA based methods we surveyed reef condition and resilience to bleaching at sites...